'Paris' does little to alleviate Allen aversion

I think I might hate Woody Allen.


Not really sure how else to explain it. I (might) hate Woody Allen. He’s a walking, talking classic. His movies are revered and discussed in college classrooms across the country. There’s a certain amount of prestige that accompanies statements like, “Did you see the new Woody Allen film? I rather enjoyed it.” (You have to say “film” when invoking Allen’s name, not “flick” or “pic”, otherwise you undermine any sense of that prestige.)

Not me. I think I have a problem. I place 100 percent of the blame on “Match Point,” the 2005 Allen film with Scarlett Johansson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. That flick (yeah, I said it) left a perma-sour taste in my mouth for all things Woody Allen. I am not exactly hard to please when it comes to movies; how many other people openly admit to adoring Freddy Prinze Jr. rom-coms? I’m easy! (That’s what she said.)

“Match Point” just made me angry, though. It ended. I sat there, in my seat, upset. I’m not even sure why. There have been countless movies I have sat through that were infinitely “worse”. Yet, for some reason, “Match Point” immediately went to the top of my hate list.

Woody went with it.

I did like “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” more than I thought I would, so it isn’t as if I’m a complete lost cause. Still, watching Allen’s latest film, “Midnight in Paris,” I was fully aware of my predisposition of hate.

I saw it with no real knowledge of the storyline ahead of time. I knew Owen Wilson was in it thanks to the poster. I knew a couple of buddies had seen it already and liked it a lot. I knew it probably took place in Paris and likely involved midnight. Here, then, is what I’ll add to that for you before you go:

Wilson plays Gil, a Hollywood screenwriter who is trying to write a novel. He is engaged to Inez (Rachel McAdams), who is — how do I put this? — a real [rhymes with ditch]. They’re on a vacation in Paris, as are her parents. I forget why, something to do with her dad’s new business venture, I believe. Doesn’t matter. Gil and Inez are who matters. It does not take an expert to realize they are not the world’s most compatible pair.

Gil wants to walk around the city and soak it in. Literally. He actually wants it to pour so that he can experience Paris when it rains. Inez wants to shop for wedding stuff. She and her mother are mildly annoyed when Gil pooh-poohs spending thousands of dollars on a piece of furniture. Pretty soon Gil and Inez are spending their Paris vacation doing things separately. Gil is taking midnight strolls; Inez is cheating with a very pompous fellow named Paul (Michael Sheen).

There’s a twist, but divulging it might ruin the experience for some viewers. Suffice to say, Allen’s latest film has something in common with Jean-Claude Van Damme.

“Midnight” has some nice moments. I’d call it “cute” more than anything. I didn’t hate it, which is saying something. I’ll also admit that Allen’s writing & directing (and to a lesser degree, Wilson’s acting) has both the wife and me wanting to go to Paris more than ever.

The best part about “Midnight in Paris,” though, has nothing to do with Europe. It has to do with downtown Juneau, namely, the Gold Town Nickelodeon. Short of actually going to Paris and experiencing Parisian rain, you could do a lot worse than embracing some Juneau precipitation and taking in a Woody Allen flick at the Gold Town.

If you have yet to try the Nickelodeon, you’re missing out. Fresh popcorn, real butter, and otherwise cheap (cheap!) concessions. Every time you go, the experience will differ, aside from the movie never starting quite on time. Sources tell me they were mock-serenaded by Gold Town owner Mark Ridgway on their most recent night at the movies.

Hard, even for me, to hate on Woody Allen too much when there’s real butter on the popcorn, and the possibility of some live music to boot.

Midnight in Paris runs Thursday through Tuesday at the Gold Town Nickelodeon Theatre in the Emporium Mall.


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